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Milkshake seeks to dismantle taboos

A wrinkled woman wearing black underwear and high heels stands in front of multiple mirrors that show different angles of her half-naked body.

But a closer look at the somewhat unsettling image reveals the model’s Adam’s apple and other male features.

It is a photograph by artist Phil Sayers, one in a series of works of art that explore different forms of unconventional sexuality in Malta through a year-long project called Milkshake.

“This project aims to dismantle taboos... It is a celebration of local diversity,” project coordinator Gilbert Calleja said.

“We are aware that prejudice against LGBT individuals still exists and difficulties are experienced on a daily basis but we are positive that this project – thanks to the work and dedication of all the creative people involved – will help change people’s perceptions and open minds further,” he said.

Mr Calleja is partnering with the Malta Gay Rights Movement to bring together local and international artists and authors to explore and expose “the queer body” and unconventional sexual relationships.

Artists are invited to come up with works that approach issues of masculinity and femininity to take part in an exhibition. Events, to be spread across the year, will include a weekend workshop, a photographic publication depicting the way transgender people live and a live performance.

All events will take place at St James Cavalier Cen­tre for Creativity in Valletta.

“This is an exciting opportunity to shed light on lived expressions of genders and sexualities in Malta, expressions that are not necessarily popular or known to many,” Ruth Baldacchino, from the Malta Gay Rights Movement, said.

Mr Calleja explained that the name of the project, Milkshake, was chosen because the word carried “both a combination of sexual innuendoes and a wealth of cultural metaphors connecting milk with the idea of life, maternity and survival”.

The project is sponsored by the Malta Arts Fund.

For information visit milkshaketheproject@gmail.com, the blog http://milkshaketheproject.wordpress.com or the Facebook page.

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